Gross cyclists

Today’s guest pictures was sent by Bruce.  It shows a nice shot of the isle of Arran where his son got married recently.


It would have been quite a pleasant day today if we had been in October.  As we were in December, it was a lovely day, warm and dry and with hardly a breath of wind.  Dropscone and I went round the morning run, cycling past a strikingly pink sunrise on our way.  Dropscone remarked over coffee afterwards that since we are both now 72, in combination with each other, we make up a gross.  I spent some time trying to work out whether t being a gross was a good or bad thing.

I took a few bird pictures while I was pondering.  We had a variety of bird visitors today.

small birds


A welcome brambling bringing some winter colour to the feeder.

The combination of meeting quarry lorries on the wider roads and doing the morning run, which uses narrow paths and roads, covered with fallen leaves and farm mud, had left my bike very dirty so I gave everything a good clean after coffee.  I should do this after every outing in the winter months but as it involves both bending and hard work, somehow it rarely seems to get to the top of my to do list.

After lunch, I went for a walk with Sandy as Wednesday is his day off work.   We drove a mile out of town, parked the car and set off for a woodland walk with camera in hand.

There was moss (and lichen) of many sorts to be seen as we got out of the car.


Our route took us past some curiously entwined birch trees.

birch tree

Perhaps these are trees which have been coppiced at one time and then the separate shoots have grown together over the years.  I am open to advice from  anyone who has more knowledge than me.

We walked on through younger birch trees…

birch wood

…though from time time, we came to clearings in which old oak trees took pride of place.

old oaks

The birches gave way to oaks and as we came to the edge of the wood the sun came out and the colours looked lovely.

Near Longwood

There is something irresistibly attractive (to me at anyway) about open woodland on grassy knolls and banks.

Near Longwood

Near Longwood

A placid robin sat on a fence post unmoved as we crashed about nearby.


We were looking for fungi and some were hard to miss….


…while others took a little more looking for.


One bare tree stump made for an interesting picture.

tree stump

Part of our walk was along an old railway line and next to the track there are several fallen conifers, blown over by the wind.  They are so shallow rooted that it is more amazing that any stand up than that some get blown down.

fallen conifer

Sometimes, looking straight at the discs of the uprooted trees, they don’t look like a root system at all.

roots of conifer
Spot the roots.

 The pictures don’t do justice to the pleasure that this short walk in December sunshine provided.  We may not get another such good day for months.

As we walked back to the car, we passed a spot where the council has stupidly tried to put a road down and has spoiled some perfectly good potholes.


You can tell that government ministers do not drive along here very often.

We had a cup of tea and a biscuit when we got home and then Sandy went off and I got organised for the final choir practice before the first of our two concerts.   Mrs Tootlepedal was working and I got our tea ready as she only had a moment or two to spare to eat it bef0re it was time to leave for my second visit to Newcastleton of the week.  It is a sixteen mile drive so it was very cheering to find a welcoming church, well heated and with helpful people on hand to make sure that we had everything we needed.

The choir had just enough space to be able to sit in the area where we are going to sing so there won’t have to be any fidgeting about and changing places once the concert starts which is always a bonus.  Our conductor is recovering from a recent hernia operation and is doing heroically in even being able to stand up let alone conduct us.

We had a good run through the programme and if we manage to remember all the things we have been told, the concert should go well.  We are hoping for a good audience.

A chaffinch beat off all comers for the position of flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Gross cyclists

  1. The bird in that third shot has an evil look in its eye.
    I’m glad you’re seeing more mosses, lichens and fungi. They can be a lot of fun and they add a lot of color to an otherwise blah winter landscape.
    I’m not sure what happened to the twisted tree but it seems that if it had been coppiced you would still see the stump. We have a tree braider here, or maybe an army of them who, whenever they find saplings growing close enough together, braid them into one mass. I’ve seen the results several times. Maybe you have one too.
    The landscape photos are beautiful as always.

  2. The last picture of the Chaffinch is great, you nailed the shutter speed perfectly to freeze the action sharply! 🙂

  3. Numerically gross perhaps but not in any other way. I loved going with you on your woodland walk, a real treat.
    The framed photographs stand out splendidly and glad your rehearsal went so well.

  4. So glad you had a sunny warm day – a bonus at this time of year. We had one like that on Monday. Glad to hear the choir practice went well.

  5. A good or bad thing? I’d just like to say half a gross is better than none! I envy the gross of cyclists cycling the roads and lanes of Scotland, and wish I had a Dropscone of my own, to share cycling these beautiful valleys with, where I live. Still, I’m hoping to become a gross cyclist all on my own, gotta keep those pedals going round. Photographs great as usual. Cheers.

  6. what a lovely day for a walk. A few years ago all the roads around us were filled with terrible pot holes after a very bad winter. Our local MP lives at the top of our road, right on the corner. It was good for us because our road was the first one repaired!

  7. I am learning from your posts? I was kinda excited when I saw that middle black bird in your line up of visiting birds just now. The first name that came to me was Jackdaw. Am I correct?

    A lovely post, and your barren trees were awesome, Tom!

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